This year there will be
several opportunities to perform in an Accordion Orchestra at such venues
as the Texas Accordion
Association Convention, the ATG
and AAA Conventions,
so we thought we would ask you..... Are You Ready?
by Sydney Dawson
Every musician enjoys a good rehearsal, but when it is bad, the director
is generally blamed... many times he seems in a terrible mood. Nearly
every one has tried at some time to play on an old instrument. To have
even one key stick or one that refuses to play is very annoying. The Ensemble
is the instrument of the director.
When someone thoughtlessly comes in late, it is just the same as a key
that did not respond instantly. If a key on your accordion had a habit
of sounding at the wrong time and you know that it did it on purpose,
you would probably throw the accordion out the window. That is what the
director often feels like doing. To make matters worse, generally he dare
not say a word... he might hurt someone's feelings. No wonder he is crabby
and there is a bad rehearsal. He knows rehearsal time is precious... every
minute must count.
When it is necessary for him to stop to explain something he wants attention.
It is irritating to make a detailed explanation and then have someone
ask what he has said. If a musician was playing an instrument and had
to concentrate every moment on keeping the instrument from falling apart,
the performance would be very mediocre. The director will get little accomplished
if he has to use his vitality to keep the proper respect and conduct.
If he can put all his energy into interpretation the performance will
probably be inspiring!
Many times members are not in sympathy with the director's' interpretation.
If the director feels that a passage should be fast they try to play it
slow. Whether a director's interpretation is right or wrong, he should
A good rule to follow: Ask yourself what would happen if all members of
the ensemble did the same thing. Would it help the ensemble or hinder
it? If you wished to say something to a neighbor, what would happen if
everyone would do the same thing. If you wanted to practice a passage
while the director was talking, what would happen if all the members started
to practice? If on the other hand, you were attentive and listened to
the director with the hopes of learning something, would it help of hinder
the rehearsal if all other members did the same thing?
Ensemble success depends upon coordination and cooperation. Probably there
is nothing greater than the fine coordination of an ensemble of musicians.
There are 16 different things that must be known about a single note before
it can be played properly and at times hundreds of notes are played per
minute. The split second timing by musicians in ensemble make all other
sports seem like a group of old ladies playing tiddlywinks. A Babe Ruth,
who can judge a fast ball and knock a home run is greatly admired, but
that fast ball is slow molasses compared to some of the notes in Allegro
and prestissimo tempos. Imagine 30, 40, or 100 Babe Ruth's swinging their
bats at that many balls and all knocking home runs simultaneously, yet
ensembles knock thousands of split-second home runs at every performance.
The following is a test for you to use. Grade 5 points for each question
that you can honestly answer yes to. If your grade is above 85 you may
consider yourself a good member. If you are between 65 and 85, you need
to do a little work on the questions you have answered no to. If you have
less than 65, you are not doing your share and had better find out why!
- Do you have the best instrument that
you can afford?
- Do you keep it in good condition?
- Do you practice daily on your band work?
- Are you in your place and ready to play
at the time rehearsal starts?
- Do you ever offer to do anything extra
not demanded o you, such as putting up chairs, passing out music, etc...?
- Are you like by other band members?
- Will you willingly play any part... 1st,
2nd, 3rd, 4th... that your director asks you to play?
- Do you follow faithfully the rehearsal
routine and discipline?
- Are you always prepared, with hand in
position to play the first note on the down beat?
- Do you accept criticism form you director
in good spirit?
- Do you play so that you can hear the
instruments on both sides of you at all times?
- Do you make an effort to memorize the
music at particular times, such as ferrets, releases, attacks, etc...
in order to watch the director?
- At rehearsals, do you try to keep the
same posture as you would at a concert?
- Even though you are not in sympathy with
the director's interpretation do you sincerely try to carry out their
- Even though you are sitting next to someone
you do not like, do you try to play your best?
- Are you always careful to see that you
have all your music with you before attending rehearsals?
- Do you honestly make an effort to attend
- Would you rather have a person compliment
the ensemble as a whole than compliment your individual work in it?
- Do you try to anticipate the director's
interpretation and cooperate with them?
- Do you think there are other members
in the band who can play better than you?